Boozy working lunch? Even with a meal it’s unacceptable, says public

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
October 31, 2016, 12:26 PM GMT+0

The overwhelming majority of the public frown upon lunchtime drinking - but you're safe to start drinking by 6pm

It’s a classic dilemma whilst out for a lunchtime meal with colleagues or friends – can you get away with having an alcoholic drink with lunch on a work day?

The answer, according to the public at least, is a resounding “no”. New research from YouGov finds that – even if accompanied by a meal – the public are against lunchtime drinking by a ratio of nearly two to one.

A full 60% of people say that having an alcoholic beverage with a meal at lunch on a work day is unacceptable, compared to 32% who think it is acceptable.

Men are much more likely to consider a lunchtime tipple to be acceptable than women, with four in ten men saying it was ok compared to a quarter of women. Despite this, the majority of men (52%) still said that a drink with a meal at lunch was unacceptable.

Younger people are more accepting of a pint with lunch than their elders – alone among the demographic groups, people aged 18-24 are more likely to say a drink with lunch is acceptable than unacceptable (46% vs 42%). Acceptance declines with each age group to just 25% among those aged 65 or over.

Londoners especially are also more accepting of booze with lunch – 43% say that they think it is ok, a full ten points higher than the next most liberal region (the North).

Taking away the meal from the equation sees the number of people who think a lunchtime drink is ok drops by almost half. Just 18% of people think a drink at lunch unaccompanied by food is acceptable, compared to almost three quarters of people (74%) who think that it is unacceptable. The gender, age and regional differences noted previously are all still in evidence for this scenario, but are greatly diminished.

If it’s not acceptable for a drink at lunchtime, then when is it acceptable? Whilst the single point of the day that the most people agree it is ok to start is midday (21%), only 28% of people overall think it is ok to have started drinking at or before this point.

You don’t find a majority of people thinking it is ok to have started drinking until 6pm, at which point nearly two thirds of people (65%) think it is ok. So if you fancy that lunchtime pint, unfortunately it looks like you’re going to have to put it off until this evening.

Photo: istockphoto

See the full results here